And they say the offside rule is hard…

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They say the offside rule is hard…

By Lily Priggs

 

…but all boxing fans know the offside rule in football is nothing compared to the layers which need to be unraveled before you can begin to understand the world of professional boxing.

 

To start with, there are four sanctioning bodies all of whom offer world titles in 17 different weight divisions: the World Boxing Association (WBA); the World Boxing Council (WBC); the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and the World Boxing Organization (WBO) (Let’s not include the fringe IBO and WBU for now).

 

The WBA was the first governing body established in 1962 (formerly the National Boxing Association formed in 1921), but after being inundated with charges of corruption and internal disputes regarding what rules should be applied, rival factions were formed. Boxing fans dream of the four sanctioning bodies uniting but the possibility is incredibly remote given the sanctioning fees each rakes in every time one of their titles is contested.

 

This makes working together for unification fights – bouts with two or more belts from different sanctioning bodies – a challenge as the negotiations over money and rules are fraught. Undisputed champions (holders of all four belts) are few and far between and often have to vacate one or more titles to retain the others or to pursue a higher fee from more lucrative non-title fights. It would be impossible for a fighter to fulfill all mandatory obligations as well as the voluntary fights which earn them millions – after all a boxers career is fairly short, so it’s important for them to make wise choices when it comes to money.

 

For similar reasons, it is not in any sanctioning body’s interest to have undisputed champions for long, and to ensure this is the case, they rule the champion must take on a specific opponent who becomes the mandatory challenger. If the champion turns down the fight, they are forced to vacate the title and thus the drama begins all over again.

 

This leads to the conversation around mandatories and voluntaries. To step up the ladder, you need to take certain fights to put you in contention for a title shot; but unless you’ve been put forward for a final eliminator (a fight that determines the next mandatory challenger) there are plenty of hurdles to climb before you can earn your shot. Not only does the challenger need to have a ranking, but the sanctioning body will often be influenced by which fight will bring in the money.

 

With the 17 divisions which allow for 68 world champions (male and female) at any one time, and with fighters switching weight divisions, partly chasing the titles, and partly chasing a big pay cheque, it feels as if we could all be in the running for at least one of those belts.

 

 

Adding another layer are the promoters and managers who have their own agendas based on strategic plans to make the most money for and from their fighters. This often involves a long game of building a fighter’s fan base before risking them in title fights. Furthermore, there are the broadcasting channels who want to keep their fighters fighting on their channel which often prevents the biggest fights being made.

 

Finally, the icing on the cake: trash talk. Fighters, particularly at the elite level, are experts at talking a good game and vowing to fight their biggest rivals. But it often turns out to be just ‘talk’ to keep their fans onside, and more often than not, the money on the table is the deciding factor, which leaves boxing fans a little miffed about why certain fights never materialise.

A case in point is the Deontay Wilder-Anthony Joshua-Tyson Fury love triangle. Fury signed an exclusive deal with ESPN while world champion Wilder’s fights are broadcast on Showtime, which is why their rematch is yet to take place. The fight, due to take place in 2020, is expected to be a cross-promotion between Showtime and ESPN, the first such pay-per-view in America since Floyd Mayweather’s long-awaited and ultimately disappointing fight with Manny Pacquiao in 2015.

Both Wilder and Fury are earning millions from their respective contracts without risking their unbeaten records against top-level opponents, so their demands to fight Joshua are often unrealistic and the wait to settle the debate of who rules the heavyweight roost goes on.

Although after Joshua’s shock defeat by Andy Ruiz Jr, his rivals are probably kicking themselves!

So, are we all clear?!

To be honest, I’m actually surprised anyone fights at all!

 

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Southpaws – Keep coming!

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Southpaw Antonio Tarver knocked Roy Jones Junior out for the first time in his career. Floyd Mayweather’s first class defence was broken over and over again by Demarcus Corley and Zab Judah, both southpaws. Manny Pacquiao and Paul Williams have dominated entire weight divisions with their southpaw styles.

At Train2Fight we seem to keep on recruiting those awkward southpaws. They make pad holding complex, defence drills quite confusing and sparring really testing! We love having them, with one of the head honchos being a south paw at the gym, we’ll always adjust pad work and defence drills for the southpaws, so they can utilise their strength – which is, being left handed.

Being a southpaw can be seen as an advantage, and the majority of our guys are quick to roll their eyes (even the southpaws when they’re thrown in with another southpaw). Sparring becomes a battle for the lead leg, and misjudging the angle puts you slap-bang in the line of fire. 

The majority of a southpaw’s practice is against orthodox people (during pads and sparring) which is the fundamental reason that when an orthodox fighter faces a southpaw they will throw punches with less accuracy and less power because adjusting to new, wider angles is a tough task. The hand and foot placement needs to alter and as a result the footwork & movement weakens. The static guard will not be a reliable block anymore unless it is consistently revised now that the head is exposed to more directions.

If a fighter tries to use the southpaw’s tactics against them, the chances are that they will not come off well, because the southpaw is a lot more practiced and as a result more natural when throwing and defending from those angles.

Aside from the angles and movement, orthodox fighters have to respect the shift in power; they’ve now got a big left cross coming from where they’re trained to respond to a weaker left jabs, and where they use to expect the straight right hand they’re now responding to a quick right jab or right hook.

Then there is the pace, which is often set by the southpaw boxer who exploits their opponents unfamiliarity with the different angles, and as a result has the experience and knowledge to take control.

We love having Southpaws because they push the boxers and the fighters (even each other when there is a southpaw vs southpaw). All our fighters who have regular sparring against southpaws come away with better feet & movement, better guards that they can now adjust to different situations. They learn to relax and read their opponent, rather than rush in, in a panic. They practice and improve ways on getting inside and putting the southpaws out of their comfort zone. 

Then things start to become even again, and the Southpaw needs to adjust to the adjustment: develop their game on the inside; respond when their right jab or right hook is taken away and manage the change in pace.

In summary, keep coming those southpaws coming.

And relax…

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One of the best parts of boxing training, is enjoying the rest that you’ve earned! It’s essential if you want to progress and give 100% for each session. Training when you’re too tired can be counter-productive and take all enjoyment out of the session.

Being relaxed should take place in the Boxing ring too, it’s plenty more efficient – you’ll punch sharper, move slicker and last longer!

So here are our top ways to relax..

  1. Warm bath with Epsom salts
  2. Thai Massage
  3. Saturday post training nap
  4. Friendly game of Texas Hold Em Poker
  5. Walking through South London’s beautiful Richmond Park
  6. Watching a crime related box set
  7. Cooking a big Sunday roast while dancing to music
  8. A pub quiz
  9. Wandering around castles outside of London
  10. Watching the boxing!

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Can’t beat a good boxing quote…

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Can’t beat a good boxing quote…

 

Needing a little inspiration during these Autumn months, we asked some of our members their favourite boxing quotes..

Abeku… ‘The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights’ Mohammed Ail

Johnny T… ‘Is that my Gumshield in the spit bucket?’ John Bryson

Rhuari… ‘Without discipline, no matter how good you are, you are nothing! One day, and I might not be around, you’re going to meet a tough guy who takes your best shot. He’ll keep coming because ge’s tough. Don’t get discouraged. That’s when the discipline comes in’ Mike Tyson

Tosh… ‘ Yo Adrian’ Rocky balboa

Mike… The loss just made me hungry; it made me want to go out and win another title.” – Thomas “Hitman” Hearns

Sarah… ‘“Sure the fight was fixed. I fixed it with a right hand.” – George Foreman

Skye.. ‘When you’re about to quit, remember why you started’ Conor M

Joe... ‘I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion’ Muhammad Ali

Ceris… ‘Boxers should eat press-ups for breakfast’ Colin Kellman

Matt ‘The hero and the coward both feel the same thing. But the hero uses his fear, projects it onto his opponent, while the coward runs. It’s the same thing, fear, but it’s what you do with it that matters’ Cus D’amato

 

 

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